LOEWE’s “Crafted House” Exhibition in Shanghai is a Display of Creativity, Art and Culture


Embedded with art, culture, and LOEWE’s own brand of humour, the house’s first public exhibition “Crafted World” is an interactive exploration of space, time, material, and craft. “A homage to all the craftspeople around the world that have dedicated their lives to the handmade,” is how Creative Director Jonathan Anderson described it.

Founded in 1846 in Madrid as a leather-making collective, LOEWE has grown into one of the most prestigious luxury fashion businesses in the world. Crafted World gives visitors an opportunity to experience the famous designs and cultural partnerships that have shaped this evolution.

Head out to Shanghai Exhibition Centre to learn more about LOEWE’s journey.

This exhibit traces the 178-year legacy of LOEWE’s as a brand synonymous with craftsmanship, invention, and originality. From its beginnings in the 19th century, visitors can chart the company’s storied history. The exhibition also covers LOEWE’s appointment as an official supplier to the Spanish Royal Family and acquisition by LVMH in the 20th century, and culminates in the opening of its first store in Shanghai, China, at the turn of the 21st century, with Jonathan Anderson guiding its renaissance. It is primarily a commemoration of craftsmanship and traditional artistic practices that have long been championed by the LOEWE Foundation. This support has been evident through the yearly LOEWE Foundation Craft Prize and LOEWE’s numerous partnerships with craftspeople all over the globe.

Transporting Audience to LOEWE’s Creative Journey

The story takes the audience on a journey through the sights and sounds of Spain while also revealing the inner workings of an atelier and the several processes involved in making a design a reality. The culmination of Crafted World is a sequence of nine breathtaking, interactive rooms that transport visitors inside the artworks and imaginative realms that have motivated LOEWE’s partnerships over the last decade. These rooms recreate the atmosphere of a runway show by displaying a number of looks from Jonathan Anderson’s time as creative director. It also provide a multimedia overview of the house’s support for crafts globally.

Curated pieces detailing LOEWE’s inventive vision.

Featuring a plethora of surprises, Crafted World unfolds across 1,600 square metres and the courtyard of the Shanghai Exhibition Centre. Just a few examples of these attractions include enormous leather sculptures, a “pronunciation tunnel” that rises to demonstrate the correct way to say “LO-EV-EH,” a set of interactive exhibits for kids that are knee-high, and a floating flower garden situated within an endless hall of mirrors. Showcasing the house’s forward-thinking approach to fashion and artisan culture, the exhibition is organised around six themed chapters.

The exhibit heavily shines a spotlight on fine craftmanship.

LOEWE’s Crafted World is designed in collaboration with OMA. It is a brand known worldwide for creating groundbreaking buildings in the 21st century. The six thematic chapters are called Born from the Hand, Welcome to Spain, the Atelier, Fashion Without Limits, United in Craft and Unexpected Dialogues.

Born from the Hand

Born from the Hand showcases LOEWE’s evolution from a leather-making collective in 1846 to its modern identity through key products such as early made-to-order leather pieces and the first editions of iconic Amazona, Flamenco, and Puzzle bags. The exhibition also includes architectural models, archive photographs and advertising, works by Pablo Picasso and Pedro Almodóvar, recent collaborations with Anthea Hamilton, and costumes for Beyonce and Rihanna.

Welcome to Spain

Welcome to Spain introduces visitors to the sights and sounds of LOEWE’s own land. This chapter juxtaposes the country’s craft traditions with the landscapes that inspire them, featuring photographs and videos by Steven Meisel, Tyler Mitchell and Gray Sorrenti, as well as surreal sculptures in Barcelona’s Olympic Park, shimmering blues of the Mediterranean Sea, and Andalucian palacios with Moorish-inspired tiles.

LOEWE’s Paula’s Ibiza collection features basket and bucket bags created in conjunction with Spanish artisans, as well as heritage lebrillo bowls, Picasso ceramics and marine animal accessories.

The Atelier

The Atelier reveals the intricate process of creating LOEWE’s distinctive bags. This chapter covers the process of hand-cutting, trimming, painting and assembling leather bags, including the necessary tools and hours of prototype, and testing to assure longevity. This room also includes a two-meter-tall replica of the Howl’s Moving Castle bag, built specifically for the exhibition. The atelier reinterpreted the castle from the 2004 Studio Ghibli classic using components from the house’s iconic bags.

A sample of LOEWE’s leather craftmanship.

Fashion Without Limits

Since Jonathan Anderson was appointed creative director for LOEWE in 2013, the audience is able to fully immerse themselves in the avant-garde innovation, sculptural forms, and whimsical trompe l’oeil effects of his runway collections through Fashion Without Limits. The chapter showcases 69 men’s and womenswear looks displayed on pedestals alongside pieces from the LOEWE art collection that mirror the daring silhouettes of his designs. These pieces include the bronze sculpture “Idol” by William Turnbull (1956), the textile mobile “The Intermediate—Dangling Hairy Hug” by Haegue Yang (2018), and the glazed earthenware “Mireille Kamyanya, Congo” by Zizipho Poswa (2022).

The Fashion line on display.

United in Craft

Showing how LOEWE supports craft all across the globe, United in Craft is a celebration of the joy of making things by hand. Included in this chapter are works and videos showcasing the yearly LOEWE FOUNDATION Craft Prize, the Chinese Monochrome Collection of 2023, and the projects Tapestries, Baskets, Weaves, Chairs and Chestnut Roasters from Salone del Mobile, in which LOEWE collaborated with artists from Ecuador, India, South Africa, and China, among others, as well as the beautifully coloured glazes of Ming and Qing Dynasty ceramics.

Colored glazed ceramic items.

Craftspeople from Kenya and Tanzania created the beaded Elephant purses for the Knot on My Planet charity cooperation, and the restored baskets from the 2022 Salone del Mobile exhibition Weave, Restore and Renew demonstrate the house’s commitment to a responsible and sustainable future.

Unexpected Dialogues

The nine rooms that make up Unexpected Dialogues transport visitors to the imaginative realms that have sparked LOEWE’s partnerships throughout the last decade. The chapter showcases a recreation of master potter Ken Price’s New Mexico studio, Japanese ceramicists, a jade quarry honouring the ancient art of jade carving and LOEWE’s Lunar New Year collection, a dreamworld created by Studio Ghibli, and floor-to-ceiling tactile woven carpets by John Allen.

The Unexpected Dialogue Room.

Animated projections bring mirrors, Morris’s wallpapers to life, William De Morgan’s tiles cover an entire room, and C.F.A. Voysey’s inspiration is a moving, suspended garden set inside an endless hall of mirrors; all three rooms are devoted to the 19th-century British Arts & Crafts movement’s masters.

Crafted World runs from 22 March to 5 May 2024 at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre before travelling worldwide. The exhibition is open to the public, and entrance is free.


About Author

Marky is a travel writer and photographer. He narrates his experiences wandering the tropical paradise of the Philippines, South East Asia, Sri Lanka and India on his travel blog Nomadic Experiences.

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